Archive | February, 2011

Week 4 challenge

27 Feb

The time has arrived for my next challenge! Since I’m not feeling the most triumphant after last week’s challenge (love the dress but it’s not exactly the best hommage to Gucci’s inspiration dress) my first thought was to give myself an easier week by focusing on shoes. But then the more I though about it I realized that shoes are also going to be pretty tough to find for under $20. So I have decided to focus on finding a brown bag since 1) I need one, and 2) there are lots of brown bags out there so this challenge should be pretty straight forward right? Hmm, yeah, about that straight forward/easy comment, this challenge could have been easier if I hadn’t come across my current object of desire:

 

Proenza Schouler $2350

This absolute beauty is Proenza Schouler’s PS1 Extra Large leather travel bag. It is a caramel-brown leather travel bag with a top handle, a detachable knotted shoulder strap, a buckle-fastening cross-body strap, a fold-over flap front with a lock and strap fastening, pouch pockets at the front and back, an internal zip-fastening pocket, and it is fully lined. It retails for $2350 at CAD at NET-A-PORTER. Easy to find for under $20 right? This will be tough.

I have to say, I have not been this smitten with an accessory since the great Rosazissimo obsession of 2009-2010. I am IN LOVE with this bag! It is classic, timeless, and downright drool-worthy. I have thus decided to pen an open letter to Proenza Schouler in case they ever stumble upon my silly little blog and have an interest in charity:

Dear Mr. McCollough and Mr. Hernandez,

I am writing to profess my utter delight in your designs and specifically one item in particular, the PS1 extra large leather travel bag (in Saddle). This beautiful work of art has inspired great feelings of fashion lust in me but alas, I am just a poor graduate student trying to survive a horrible recession that has left me in a stylistic rut. Unfortunately, my current meagre funds cannot afford me the luxury of purchasing your magnificent product therefore, I must try to appeal to your charitable natures.

If you could be ever so kind as to donate one of your beautiful bags to my cause I will be forever grateful to you and will showcase your product everywhere I go. I will even shout about its glorious craftsmanship from the rooftops! If you cannot part with one of your prime specimens I will gladly offer to take one of its brothers or sisters with more “character” off your hands. Perhaps one that has been slightly damaged in the production process, or one that was tragically injured in a stocking or shipping accident? I am a woman with a lot of love to give and am fully committed to aiding in any bag-related rescue and rehabilitation.

I thank you in advance for considering my most heartfelt request and I hope to someday coddle one of your wonderful creations. In the meantime I would like to apologize for attempting to find an alternative to your bag for under $20. Of course I could never find an article that truly embodies the glory of your product for such a small sum of money and I mean no offense or insult.

Sincerely,

Mel    xoxoxo

(Please send all parcels C/O Mel at The SpendThrift Experiment)

I’ll keep all you readers updated on when my shipment arrives, lol. In the meantime the challenge is on!

Week 3 Results

26 Feb

It’s time for the results of the Week 3 challenge! If you recall, the target article of clothing was a LBD from Gucci’s ready to wear collection that retails for $1340 CAD:

Gucci

 

So how did I do this week? Well I found a really great dress that I’m actually quite happy with! Unfortunately, the style isn’t exactly true to the Gucci inspiration but if you are shopping with more than $20 in your wallet there are quite a few similar dresses out there (for example at Guess and Suzy Shier).

Although the LBD that I did find is more of a bandeau dress and doesn’t have the same sleeves or a belt (not that I’m too upset about the lack of a belt, as I mentioned in the challenge post belts just don’t work with my short waist), I do think that it still works:

 

I found the dress at Suzy Shier where the regular retail price was $40 but it was in the clearance section so it was an additional 50% off:

 

Now I know that only brings the price down to $20 before taxes and if you recall I have to stay within $20 including the tax. Luckily (depending on how you look at it at least), some of the seams of the dress had come loose (and I have no problem picking up a needle and thread) so I got an extra %15 off:

Come to think of it I really should have tried to get more taken off of the price but at the time I was just focused on getting the dress for under $20.

With all of the discounts  I ended up with a whopping grand total of $19.21! My most expensive purchase yet! This leaves me with $0.79 for the Savings Bank (I’ll try not to spend it all in one place, lol). Unfortunately, I seem to have lost the receipt to prove the price but you trust me right? And if you don’t trust me (shame on you!) I was shopping with a friend so they can vouch for me, plus I had no cash on me so my purchase has been recorded and legitimized courtesy of my trusty VISA card.

So how does the dress look on an actual person? Here it is:

Dress Suzy Shier, sandals Aldo

 

I think it’s great for a night out with some fun platform sandals. For the office I’ll pair it with a blazer and maybe some boots and tights at least until the weather warms up more:

Blazer Jacob, boots Aldo

 

Well I’ve shown you my purchase for the week and given you my opinion, now it’s time to hear yours!

Revisiting the rules…yet again

25 Feb

I seem to always have the rules of this experiment in the back of my mind. I’ve also had many conversations with friends and family about the rules and I have come to the conclusion that I need to tweak them once again. I hope that this will be the last time but I’m a bit of an indecisive person so no guarantees!

When I first came up with the idea for this experiment, besides getting the usual “are you crazy, $20 is just too little money?!” and “how are you going to find these specific items?” comments, I also got the “52 weeks’ worth of challenges adds up to an awful lot of clothes”, “how are you going to find space for all of these clothes?” and “does it always have to be clothing?” comments.

 

Warner Brothers

Well to respond to these queries: yes this experiment will add up to a lot of clothes (not that that is necessarily a bad thing of course), I have no idea how I am going to find the space to house all of them but I have a feeling that my office and spare bedroom will become much more cozy, and no it doesn’t always have to be clothing since the rules allow for a one-time accessories cheat. Thinking about the latter point I’ve decided to open this experiment up to more accessories. The fact is I absolutely love shoes (shocking I know!):

This is just a tiny sample of my shoes, they also populate the closet in our front entry way and embarrassingly an entire cupboard above my desk at school. I also think that there may be some in the basement and garage but those are the strictly utilitarian shoes.

I also think that I do need some new shoes (I can hear Raine laughing about this one right now) since some of my shoes have seen better days. Or at least that’s what I’ve convinced myself. I would also like a few new bags (I need a brown purse for one) and some other accessories like jewellery, scarves etc.

Based on all of these wants, umm I mean needs; I will give myself 5 bag challenges, 5 shoe challenges, and 5 “other” accessories challenges. This way I will mix things up a bit and also be able to hit up some different/specialty stores. Plus I’ll be able to indulge in the shoe craving I’ve been experiencing recently…Week 4 may be the week to finally get my fix!

Triumph or Tacky?

22 Feb

Based on the online votes and the reactions that I got to my outfit and the black Tommy Hilfiger vest today I think that Week 2’s challenge was a triumph! Or at least a partial triumph, I haven’t gotten a chance to wear the grey vest yet but I will write a quick post about it when I do.

I wore my outfit to my defense (which I passed, yay!) and I got compliments on the vest from people around the office so I think that today qualifies as a good day! I really like how the look turned out and I think it definitely has a Katharine Hepburn/Chanel-ish vibe to it. Of course it’s nowhere near a true approximation of Chanel but maybe someday I can upgrade to the real thing. In the meantime I may just watch Coco Avant Chanel again for a quick fix!

Audrey Tatou in Coco Avant Chanel. Photo: Chantal Thomine-Desmazures

This menswear inspired look was also nice and comfortable which I enjoyed, except perhaps for the pants that seem to be a bit tighter than when I last wore them. Hmm, I think that I may have taken the whole newlywed “fat and happy” thing a little too far… Since I’ve been married for over a year now my newlywed excuse is pretty much equivalent to a woman sitting in McDonald’s complaining about how she hasn’t lost “the baby weight” as she’s watching her 10 year play in the playroom. But I digress.

Overall I’m happy with last week’s challenge and I hope that this week is just as successful. Tomorrow I definitely need to do some shopping, after the gym of course…

Week 3 challenge

20 Feb

PPPB4MC7U5XT

With two relatively successful challenges under my belt I’m feeling pretty good about this experiment! So far I haven’t experienced what I will term (and I’m sure others have termed) an EFF (epic fashion fail) and I’m very encouraged by that fact (I think the term EFF is an appropriate descriptor that could potentially be used in this experiment, as in  “what the EFF is that?!”).

On to this week’s challenge that will hopefully not be an EFF! Since the Fall/Winter 2011 collections have been showcased and it’s still pretty cold out I think that my mind is still in Winter mode (Spring is just around the corner though right?). Unfortunately, fashion-wise I’m still kind of drawn to dark colour palettes so what better way to structure this challenge than around the classic little black dress (referred to as the LBD from now on…bear with me, I’m a scientist, I like my acronyms). I saw this dress in Gucci’s ready to wear collection and I thought that it was very classic and chic:

 

Gucci $1340 CAD

It is a belted boatneck dress made of black bonded flat cotton jersey. I’m not sure if I’ll pair a belt with it since I’m short-waisted and I have a really hard time finding belts that look good on me but we’ll see! I figure that a dress like this is a perfect wardrobe staple since it’s completely work appropriate and would be great to have on the off-chance that I get a job sometime soon (please send me your positive vibes!).

Wish me luck! My next post will be Tuesday’s episode of Triumph or Tacky? and I’m also going to discuss and update the rules (yet again!) in another post this week.

 

belted boat neck dress.

 

 

Description
  • black bonded flat cotton jersey
  • back zip closure
  • leather belt with metal buckle
  • 47% cotton, 45% polyamide, and 8% elastam

Week 2 Results

19 Feb

It’s the end of the Week 2 challenge and time for me to reveal my purchases! If you recall, my inspiration was the menswear trend and the specific clothing item was a vest, well two vests actually, one from Ralph Lauren and one from DSquared2:

So how did I do? Well, I managed to find two vests and still stay within budget! Before anyone mentions it I wasn’t able to find anything in white or with pinstripes so I know that deducts a few points but I think that I still rocked the challenge given that I did find two vests! If you are interested in a white vest Guess does have one that is similar to the DSquared2 one on sale for $44.99 with an additional 50% off but it kind of has ugly gold buttons on it…

Both of my purchases were thrift store steals. The first vest fits more with the style of the Ralph Lauren inspiration and is by Tommy Hilfiger.  It was the priciest purchase of the two at $11.29 taxes included:

I’m assuming it was more expensive since it is a “brand name” item.

The second bears a greater resemblance to the DSquared2 vest and came in at a budget friendly $4.51:

I’m pretty sure that this vest was originally from Sirens and that explains the much cheaper price (and look of the garment, lol).

That leaves me with a total of $4.20 to add to the SpendThrift savings bank!

Now in my original Week 2 challenge post I had mentioned that I also needed a dress shirt if I was going to wear a vest to my defence. Lucky for me I actually found one hiding in my closet so that was a great money saver! So here is the first vest on me with the dress shirt and some trousers (that apparently shrunk in the wash, hmm…):

Vest thrifted Tommy Hilfiger, shirt Jacob, trousers Club Monaco, shoes Steve Madden

For a more casual look I think that it also looks cute with a white t-shirt:

 

T-shirt Smartset

Here’s the second vest with a simple black tank top (sorry it looks a little wrinkled in the picture):

 

Vest thrifted Seduction, tank top Old Navy

And a silly picture with my puppy:

Is it the red lips or the outfit?

 

I think that this look is more appropriate for a night out with friends so needless to say this is not the look that I will be wearing to my defence on Tuesday!

Well I’ve shown you my purchases and given you my opinion, now it’s time to hear yours!

The Savings Bank (and an ode to Louboutins)

17 Feb

With one challenge under my belt (and amazingly some change leftover from my first purchases!) I figured that I should outline what happens to the money that I don’t spend. I have decided that every week I will add the remaining money into a little piggy bank that I will call the SpendThrift Savings Bank:

 

My purse bank 😮 Thanks Mom!

So how much money is in the savings bank at the moment? I have a grand total of $6.53 (at some point I’ll see if I can arrange a widget in the sidebar that always has the tally going). I’ll be interested to see how much this savings bank grows over time.

Now what is the purpose of this savings bank? Well I figured that with the exception of pulling out some money to cover the shipping costs associated with my one online shopping cheat  (see the rules for further clarification), I will let my leftover challenge money accumulate over the course of the entire experiment and buy something fun at the end of it!  Do I have any ideas for what would qualify as “something fun”? Hmm, let me think about this for about a nanosecond…

Christian Louboutin Maudissima $595

Ahhh, *swoon*….

Christian Louboutin Very Prive $795

Double *swoon*

If you are questioning my sanity or ability to do math yes I realize that even if I manage to save $5 from each weekly challenge that only brings me to $260 at the end of the year. However, I am hoping that by the end of this experiment I am gainfully employed and I can use my SpendThrift savings bank money as a down payment on a beautiful pair of signature red soles. I may not even be able to walk in the pair of shoes that I decide to buy (Louboutins do come with certain risks) but really, sitting shoes have their merits too right?

I have loved Christian Louboutin shoes ever since I first saw them years ago. When I was planning my wedding I was downright obsessed with one pair in particular:

Christian Louboutin Rosazissimo

 

I kept imagining myself walking down the aisle (ok, beach in my case) wearing my beautiful “something blues”. However, the $995 price tag coupled with the fact that heels and sand aren’t really a good mix meant that they just weren’t an option. Come to think of it they really wouldn’t have fit with my Grecian-style dress but really, I didn’t care at the time. I knew that no one else at my wedding would have cared that I was wearing Louboutins (some friends even told me to find a pair of *gasp* knock-offs) but I would have known and that would have been enough for me! I did find a perfect pair of Jimmy Choos as an alternative but Louboutins still would have been the epitome of luxury and I still think that they make amazing shoes that are perfect for weddings:

Christian Louboutin N°Prive Riche

Well I think that I’ve gushed enough about Louboutins for one day. My next post will be the Week 2 result post!